It is well known that you see fewer meteors before midnight than after. This is explained by the fact that before local midnight Meteors hitting the Earth’s atmosphere must be travelling in the same direction as the Earth, so the relative speed of the meteor to the Earth is smaller, whereas after midnight the Earth is passing through Meteors on the Earth’s leading edge, so the relative speed of the meteors are faster, and since the speed the meteor hits our atmosphere affects its brightness we should see more after midnight than before.

My own experience sifting through the meteor candidates from our camera and observing over long periods, suggest this bias should be easy to detect, so now that we have over 15 months of data, I thought I’d see if this bias in observations was real. 

The UFO analysis software categorises the meteors into named showers, if a shower can’t be identified it is classed as a sporadic meteor. I have only used the sporadic meteors in the analysis to minimise any bias due to known meteor showers.

My (very simple) analysis suggests on average you are 2.7 times more likely to see a meteor after midnight than before, a much larger factor than I’d expected.


Plot showing the number of sporadic meteors per hour over a 15 month period as captured by the Meteor team using the Societies meteor camera. Overall you are 2.69 times more likely to see a meteor after midnight than before.

Does this reflect your experience? Comment below.